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"My father was born down around New Orleans and one of my best personal friends in life was born in Zachary, Louisiana," says Matthew McConaughey. It just so happens that Zachary, Louisiana, population 12,000, is one of the places that has opened its arms to Hurricane Katrina evacuees. In the last seven days, the population has more than doubled.

At the Cornerstone Church in Zachary, Matthew met Lois, one of 130 displaced people. Lois felt happy and blessed to be alive, but she felt a hole in her heart because she had no idea where her family was. We were able to contact Lois's daughter by telephone.

"My expectations before coming down here were not that defined," says Matthew. "I knew what I knew from the television. I saw quite a bit of destruction. I didn't understand necessarily the scope of it. I'm still trying to digest what I think we're all going to have to digest for some time. There's so much work to do. The one thing that is pure about helping out with a tragedy like this is service. Share what you have. And that's the best way we know." Read entries from Matthew's journal, exclusively on Oprah.com.

Matthew is committed to helping Katrina survivors.
More about the Katrina catastrophe
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FROM: Oprah on Location: Inside the Katrina Catastrophe
Published on September 06, 2005

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